'The doctor said I should go home at half-time... but how could I leave?': Diego Maradona insists he has no health concerns despite being filmed carried out of Argentina's win over Nigeria and receiving medical treatment inside the stadium

Diego Maradona was in attendance as Argentina took on Nigeria in Russia The World Cup winner was seen thanking God after Lionel Messi's first half goal The 57-year-old appeared to fall asleep in his seat at the St Petersburg Stadium Following Marcos Rojo's late winner, he swore at supporters sat below him Videos later emerged of Maradona needing assistance and looking unsteady However he did not require hospital treatment and later flew to Moscow

27 June 2018 - 10:57

Diego Maradona has declared 'I am fine' after fears were raised for his health following Argentina's win against Nigeria at the World Cup.

The 57-year-old was filmed looking unsteady on his feet and being helped away from his seat after the match, while Argentinian newspaper Clarin published pictures of him being attended to by medical staff.

A number of earlier reports had claimed Maradona had been taken to hospital - but the retired player quashed the rumours in an Instagram post several hours later.


Diego Maradona has declared 'I am fine' after fears were raised for his health on Tuesday night

Diego Maradona has declared 'I am fine' after fears were raised for his health on Tuesday night

Revealing he had suffered neck pain during half-time, Maradona said he had seen a doctor and was advised to go home before the end of the game but decided against it.

He said: 'I want to tell everyone that I am fine, that I am not, neither was I interned.

'In the halftime of the game against Nigeria, my neck hurt a lot... I was checked by a doctor and he recommended me to go home before the second half, but I wanted to stay because we were risking it all. How could I leave? I send a kiss to everyone, thanks for the support!'

The post was accompanied by a picture of the former footballing star with a medic.

Following the game, Maradona, who drove Argentina to glory at Mexico '86, had been pictured looking in far better health by Patricia Villegas, president of Latin American broadcaster teleSUR.

She reported Maradona had boarded a flight to Moscow, sharing a picture of him on what looked to be a luxury jet.

She wrote: '1:41 am Russia. About to (fly). Diego: Are you in hospital?'


Diego Maradona swore at supporters during Argentina's win against Nigeria in St Petersburg

Diego Maradona swore at supporters during Argentina's win against Nigeria in St Petersburg


Video later emerged of Maradona - unsteady on his feet - being helped into the VIP area

Video later emerged of Maradona - unsteady on his feet - being helped into the VIP area


Maradona retreated to the catering area, where medical staff were reportedly called to assist

Maradona retreated to the catering area, where medical staff were reportedly called to assist


A picture showed two medical members of medical staff seemingly assisting Maradona

A picture showed two medical members of medical staff seemingly assisting Maradona

A night of bizarre behaviour from the man who led Argentina to the 1986 World Cup - a feat they have not repeated since - began with him grabbing a woman to dance with in the executive seats before the game. He seemed to be out of control when Messi's opening goal went in.

Maradona looked increasingly the worse for wear each time the camera panned to him, swearing and giving insulting hand gestures.

Video then emerged on social media after the game of Maradona appearing to need help back into the VIP area, looking unsteady on his feet, and a picture showed him being treated by two members of medical staff.

According to Argentine newspaper La Nacion, Maradona was treated for a 'few minutes', but was then able to leave the stadium normally.

The near 30-second clip showed the former Napoli striker being carried into his own personal box, appearing to be on the verge of collapse. 


Another video of Maradona at the Argentina v Nigeria game showed him looking unwell

Another video of Maradona at the Argentina v Nigeria game showed him looking unwell


After swaying for a few seconds, Maradona then gives a woozy grin and thumbs up to camera

After swaying for a few seconds, Maradona then gives a woozy grin and thumbs up to camera


The former Napoli striker was seen thanking God after Lionel Messi's opener after 14 minutes

The former Napoli striker was seen thanking God after Lionel Messi's opener after 14 minutes


Maradona looked to the heavens and crossed his arms in celebration during the first half

Maradona looked to the heavens and crossed his arms in celebration during the first half


The 57-year-old was overcome with emotion after Argentina took the lead against Nigeria

The 57-year-old was overcome with emotion after Argentina took the lead against Nigeria


At one stage it all seemed too much for Maradona as he appeared to fall asleep in his seat

At one stage it all seemed too much for Maradona as he appeared to fall asleep in his seat


The 57-year-old seemed startled as he opened his eyes just before the end of the first half

The 57-year-old seemed startled as he opened his eyes just before the end of the first half


Part of Argentina's 1986 World Cup winning side, the icon scored 34 goals for his country

Part of Argentina's 1986 World Cup winning side, the icon scored 34 goals for his country

MARADONA'S CONTROVERSIES 

Diego Maradona has been no stranger to controversy during and after his illustrious playing career. 

From the mid-1980s until 2004 he fought an addiction to cocaine. It allegedly began during his time at Barcelona in 1983 and became more regular during his time at Napoli later in the decade.

In 1991 he was banned from football for 15 months after testing positive for cocaine. 

At the 1994 World Cup he was sent home in disgrace after failing a drug test for ephedrine doping, signalling the end of his international career.

After finally retiring in 1997 aged 37 he suffered a series of health problems and became massively overweight. At one point he reached 130kg.

He underwent gastric bypass surgery in 2005 and followed a liquid diet to return to his previous weight.

He was readmitted to hospital in Buenos Aires in 2007 and treated for hepatitis and effects of alcohol abuse. He was initially released only to be readmitted two days later.

After transfer to a psychiatric clinic specialising in alcohol-related problems he was discharged. In May that year he claimed on Argentine television he had quit drinking and had not used drugs in two-and-a-half years. 

Diego Maradona has been no stranger to controversy since his playing days

Diego Maradona has been no stranger to controversy since his playing days

Another video appeared in which Maradona appeared unwell as he watched the game, before turning to the camera and giving a woozy grin and thumbs up.

The health fears came amid criticism for Maradona over his crude celebration of Argentina's winner against Nigeria.

Seconds after Marcos Rojo's 86th-minute strike hit the back of Nigeria's net, television cameras showed Maradona thrust middle-finger gestures with both hands.

He leaned over the glass barrier in his VIP box to goad supporters below swearing at them and screaming as he was hugged by those in his area.

At the finals in Russia, Maradona, who has a history of cocaine addiction, has been a notable presence at all of his country's matches, watching from the stands.

And when Rojo cracked in Argentina's second goal in a hard-fought 2-1 victory in St Petersburg that carried the team through to the last 16, he held nothing back.

Swinging his arms exuberantly, he also appeared to shout out an insult before cameras turned away from the former Barcelona and Napoli player, who has had a number of personal problems since his playing days. 


A host of Argentina supporters gathered to take pictures of the former star before the game

A host of Argentina supporters gathered to take pictures of the former star before the game


The Argentina legend  held the flag of himself before kick off at St Peterburg Stadium

The Argentina legend held the flag of himself before kick off at St Peterburg Stadium


The 1986 World Cup winner was surrounded by supporters as he displayed a flag of himself

The 1986 World Cup winner was surrounded by supporters as he displayed a flag of himself


The Argentina legend took time to interact with supporters before the action got underway

The Argentina legend took time to interact with supporters before the action got underway

Gary Lineker, hosting BBC One's coverage of the game, said of England's one-time nemesis at full-time: 'There's a danger of him becoming a laughing stock I'm afraid in many ways.'

BBC sports presenter Dan Walker wrote on Twitter: 'And that's why you don't show Maradona no matter how good he was in his prime'.

Speaking on the BBC's coverage of the game, pundit Rio Ferdinand led the criticism of his antics. He said: 'That will make a lot of the news unfortunately.

'His career as a football player on the pitch was one of the best but unfortunately there are moments like this that do arise and it's not nice to see that.'

Maradona had appeared overcome with emotion after Lionel Messi found the net in the first half, with the goal prompting the 57-year-old to thank God. 


Maradona certainly seemed to enjoy the attention that he was getting from the fans

Maradona certainly seemed to enjoy the attention that he was getting from the fans


Saluting the crowd, he had to be held by one of his friends as he stood on the ledge of his box

Saluting the crowd, he had to be held by one of his friends as he stood on the ledge of his box


Argentina supporters gather round as Maradona soaks up the praise at St Petersburg Stadium

Argentina supporters gather round as Maradona soaks up the praise at St Petersburg Stadium

The occasion all seemed to be a bit too much for him at one stage as he appeared to fall asleep.

Prior to the game Maradona was surrounded by many Argentina fans and took the time to interact with them and pose for pictures.

He appeared to be enjoying the attention he received and held up a flag of himself handed to him from the crowd below.

Twice banned for drugs offences during his career as a player, Maradona also had a spell as coach of the national team, but his reputation is likely to suffer further after this latest episode.


Source: daily mail
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